VM

Halloween at the Victoria Mansion

1. THE BONG IN THIS REGGAE SONG

 

Here’s a little child-of-the-’90s inside baseball for ya: aside from Pixies bassist Kim Deal being both rock legend and an extraordinary artist, I have a soft spot in my heart for her own project THE BREEDERS because they once played at The Bronze on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even if it was a terrible Dawn-centric episode about an enchanted letterman jacket. Deal and her current lineup (her famously not-a-guitar-player twin sister Kelley Deal on guitar, Josephine Wiggs on bass and Jim MacPherson on drums) is on tour behind their new album All Nerve, a fantastically satisfying outing for the band (go to Spotify and treat yourself to the track “Wait in the Car”) that feels as vital and contemporary as Pod did when it came out in 1990. Chicago noise rock band Melkbelly opens, and after the show wraps, head a few doors down to Geno’s, where Portland’s favorite hot mess of woman-fronted punk/grunge, THEWORST, hosts an unofficial after party for Breeders fans who want to keep the vibe going — though to be fair, TheWorst has more of a Sonic Youth/Hole thing going on, eschewing ultra-feminine vocals like Deal’s for deeper, growlier registers and huskier songwriting. Baltimore’s darkwave outfit CURSE opens, and a set of dance music from BIPRODUCT completes the night.| Oct 25 | Thu 8 pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress St & Geno’s Rock Club, 625 Congress St, Portland | $35 and $8 | All Ages & 21+ | statetheatreportland.com, genosrockclub.com

 

2. USE YOUR WORDS

 

MYLES BULLEN is one of Portland’s more prolific spoken word performers. If he’s not spitting rhymes over beats as an alternative hip hop artist, he’s doing spoken word (and physical expression through his acro-yoga teaching practice) with various organizations throughout the city while actively encouraging people from all rungs of the economic ladder to create, express and relate to each other through compassionate connection. Sometimes we all need a little bit of help being creative. Myles answers the call with his CREATIVE WRITING NIGHT. Donation-based (no one will be turned away for lack of funds), the evening is meant to engender creative thought through wordplay exercises, games and writing prompts. All ages, writing genres and languages spoken/written are welcome to attend. Attendees should bring a notebook and expect to either share their work or enjoy others’ sharing during the “Open Air Word Share” time at the end of the workshop. | Oct 26 | Fri 7:15 pm | Arcana, 81 Market St, Portland | $5-20 | All Ages | arcanamaine.com

  

3. WELCOME TO THE PIT OF ULTIMATE DARKNESS

 

The dance-night institution Plague is having their annual GOTH BALL on Friday Night, and the theme is Seven Deadly Sins. Attendees are encouraged to dress as their favorite among lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride for a costume contest to be held at midnight, which sounds like the set up to one of those elaborate Maine jokes that your cousin tells while you’re out in the driveway crushing ‘Gansetts and drillin’ darts. The intention at Plague’s Goth Ball is no less cheeky, however, lest you think that goths don’t have senses of humor — let’s face it, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a grown-ass person in a cape is downright hilarious. But while the humans might be having fun, the music will certainly be the spookiest of the classics, maybe some Bauhaus, Xmal Deutschland, some Siousxie and Cocteau Twins, and perhaps Disc Jockeys Dehuman8 and Foxy will lean into some horror punk tracks or even Alice Cooper. Who knows what those two have in store for the ball’s attendant skinwalkers. And while scary stuff might be the modus operandi of the evening, Plague’s weekly party is always inclusive and strives to be a safer space for every body despite all the black lipstick and, well... masks, a lot of times. Confusing, I know. | Oct 26 | Fri 9 pm | Aura, 121 Center St, Portland | $5 | 21+ | auramaine.com

  

4. YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT...

 

There are a lot of Halloween parties on Saturday night, and EqualityMaine’s annual GREAT PUMPKIN BALL is an excellent choice if in your heart you see a future in which LGBTQ+ human persons are just treated like human persons and enjoy the same luxuries of legal, economic and social equality that cis/het persons do. In fact, it’s an excellent choice even if you don’t envision that future, because we’ll get there eventually, and you might as well get used to it now if you’re not already on board — plus, drag queens are hella fun and look, real talk, the gays know how to throw a party. That might be a cliche, but it is also a hard fact. This year’s Great Pumpkin Ball stars THE VIXEN from Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race; drag, theater and cabaret performances by Portland’s local drag kings and queens, individual and group costume contests with some sweet prizes and, of course, a dance party with sets from DJs Steve Sidewalk (NYC) and Kate (Portland, ME). All of the proceeds from this party will be invested into EQME’s work creating safer schools for LGBTQ+ young people, which our communities need so badly right now. | Oct 27 | Sat 7 pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress St, Portland | $20 | 18+ | statetheatreportland.com

 

5. THEY’RE COMING TO GET YOU, PORTLAND

 

Oxbow is hosting their fourth annual NIGHT OF THE LIVING BEER, during which they reverently trot out kegs from other local breweries — the ‘zombies’ in this metaphor, one assumes — to stand among their own farmhouse-style brews. Beers from fellow local brewers Allagash, Austin Street Brewery, Bissell Brothers, Liquid Riot and Rising Tide will be up for grabs alongside a few of Oxbow’s taps, and at 9 pm they get the dance party started with a set of funk, soul and RnB cuts from DJ Fava Le Chic. My only question about this event is: who are the real zombies, though? I love going to Oxbow despite not really being a beer drinker, and it seems to be a hot date spot. I’ve observed quite a few bored young women suffering slack-jawed through relentless monologues about craft beer, brewing methods and artisanal hops from their dates in Oxbow’s tasting room. Singles of Portland, we can do better than this! Boys: ask your gal a question or two, and listen to the answer. Gals: it’s okay to change the subject or interrupt a 40-minute soliloquy about barley malt. Oxbow, you guys are fine, keep doing your thing, but maybe book a dating coach as a lonely hearts Valentine’s Day event next year. | Oct 26 | Fri 5 pm | Oxbow, 49 Washington Ave, Portland | Free | 21+ | oxbowbeer.com

  

6. WELCOME HOME

 

Those of us who were born in the States talk about refugees and newcomers to the United States quite a bit in the abstract — everyone around the dinner table has an opinion on Dagnurf Tramf’s insane border policies and the country’s sanctuary cities. Few of us, however, know the stories of those who have made the journey to the US in any real detail. On Friday, COLOR OF COMMUNITY presents "Sacred Stories," a first-person storytelling night featuring first person narratives from asylum seekers and refugees who have emigrated to America. These Maine newcomers share their experiences of courage, struggle, compassion, forgiveness, love and survival in an intimate setting at the Williston Emmanuel United Church. While the event is 14 and up, parents may wish to consider whether their teens are ready for stories that may contain some references to or descriptions of violent events. The path to understanding is broadened by exposure and the willingness to listen — a gift we can offer to those whose life stories we don’t yet understand. | Oct 26 | Fri 6:45 pm | Williston Emmanuel United Church, 156 High St, Portland | Free, donations welcome | 14+ |

 

7. FIRE IN THE TACO BELL

 

Greek life has a bad reputation. Hazing, racism, drinking until people get injured or worse, that’s what we tend to hear about the most. But for every frat who locked a pledge in a trunk for 12 hours, there are 20 or 30 Greek organizations doing philanthropic work that benefits the communities in which their members live and go to school. In cooperation with the American Red Cross and the Portland Fire Department, USM’s Phi Mu Delta fraternity and Kappa Delta Phi sorority have put together their second annual HALLOWEEN FIRE PREVENTION FESTIVAL and blood drive in an effort to both educate and entertain in honor of one of the more shenanigans- (and fire-)laden holidays. The festival takes place in Longfellow Park, with free food and drink, music, activities, arts and crafts, face painting and books for kids, including a children’s Halloween costume parade. Local organizations like UNE Dental Hygiene Brush & Floss and the Portland Police Department will be on hand for education and community engagement, and just down the road the Red Cross will be taking donations of blood from donors. | Oct 27 | Sat 11 am | USM Sullivan Gym, 66 Falmouth St, Portland | Free | All Ages | for info, email uno@maine.rr.com

 

8. ALL SHE WANTS TO DO IS DANCE

 

A stalwart DJ and producer of Europe’s dance music scene since 2007, Croatia Squad is Alejandro Torres, a Swiss native who made his bones in live sets of Nu-Disco, Deep House and Bass, spinning sets that tend toward a sophisticated sexiness. Torres will headline FREQUENCY, a Halloween dance party at Brick South featuring 14 DJs including  across two stages. You’ll get sets of house, techno and bass on the main stage, and a silent disco equipped with interactive art installations will keep introverts happy and occupied. Live performers and visuals will round out the evening for Halloween party people who want to really go hard. Other performers include a mix of local and touring DJs and producers, including Detour, Electrya, WOLF FERAL, Dylan Fletcher, Last Minute Zach and more. It’s Halloween weekend, and costumes are obviously encouraged — but if you don’t have a costume planned, bust out your most freakish non-costume duds to fit right in. | Oct 27 | Fri 7:30 pm | Brick South, 8 Thompson’s Point, Portland | $40 | 21+ | pubhouseproductions.net

 

9. THE THRILL OF IT ALL

SPACE’s annual HALLOWEEN PARTY is always two things: packed to the gills, and completely hilarious. In a long standing tradition of bands dressing up as other bands and playing a show of covers on Halloween, the minds behind the SPACE Halloween show rely on their familiars, while always bringing in a couple of fun new ideas each year. This year’s event features SPACE Halloween regulars the Blood Caps (a rotating-cast Halloween band presently boasting members of Sunset Hearts, Golden Rules the Thumb, Crystal Canyon, and Battery Steele) this year taking on Roxy Music’s glam-rock-to-easy-listening catalog of hits. Sunset Hearts will also emerge from their shroud of silence to perform classics as Depeche Mode, Contrapposto will bring things a little bit more current as avant-garde indie pop outfit The Knife, and all-woman band Virile will take on Hole — a fitting choice, as Virile’s lead singer Brooke Binion (of TheWorst) seems to garner comparisons to Courtney Love even when she’s not performing. This show sells out every year without fail, and it gets hot and messy in there — your makeup will melt off your face, and someone will accidentally rip your wings off. So keep the radius of your costume tight and leave your fussiness at the door if you want in on Portland’s most scenester-y Halloween party.| Oct 27 | Sat 9 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St, Portland | $12 | 21+ | space538.org

  

10. YOU AIN’T HEARD? I’M STEAMPUNK NOW

 

Every year, the Gaslight League hosts a very bespoke Halloween party at VICTORIA MANSION. While in today’s post #MeToo parlance, the word “gaslight” tends to be associated with the 1944 psychological thriller of the same name and the form of abuse that is detailed in the film, gaslights were a simply a combustive method of lighting a home that would have been used in the mansion when it held inhabitants. The League is actually the mansion’s unfortunately-named young donor’s association. They like cocktails, costume parties, history and our fine city, and they hold events and fundraisers to help keep the mansion going in good stead. Free for Gaslight League members and ticketed for everyone else, their Halloween party theme this year is “Steampunk Meets Sci-Fi,” and one expects that whomever shows up as Luke Skywalker with a functioning dirigible for a robotic hand and a periscope in lieu of a lightsaber will win the costume contest, the hub of the night’s action. Signature cocktails and sets of dance music from DJ Jonny Noise round out the night in the delicate interiors of Victoria Mansion — speaking of, no glitter allowed. | Oct 27 | Sat 8 pm | Victoria Mansion, 109 Danforth St, Portland | $35 | 21+ | victoriamansion.org

 

11. YOU’RE JUST A TRACER

 

Sunday marks the return of Portland’s own little comic con, the PORTLAND COMIC EXPO. Let’s face it, tickets to Comic Con proper are crazy expensive, and you end up spending all of your time waiting in line in the hopes of getting into a panel just to see a disappointing sizzle reel from Marvel or Netflix. Smaller events like Portland’s iteration bring you closer to the talent, though of course the talent isn’t as “marquee” as what you’d find in San Diego. Like our city does with so many things though, Portland’s comic expo brings some good heat, with writers and artists from DC, Dark Horse, Image Comics, Alterna, Marvel and more. There’s also a deep array of regional artists, some cool programming including the expo’s “Iron Cartoonist” play on Iron Chef, and of course your requisite cosplay contest. Cobbled together by Casablanca Comics, it’s a nice entry into the world of cons for locals. | Oct 28 | Sun 10 am | Portland Exposition Building, 239 Park Ave, Portland | $5 | All Ages | portlandcomicexpo.com

 

12. MEET YOUR MAKER

 

Maker culture is still on the rise here in Portland, though it has been fairly hot on the streets in bigger cities. Living in a groove just off the coast of artists and artist culture, maker culture envelops the worlds of artisans, builders, crafters and, well, makers of all sorts. In the world of makers, economies of scale matter — while a welding rig or laser cutter might be too rich for one person’s blood, a group with combined resources can more readily afford the trappings of a professional. To that end, makers of all kinds are encouraged to attend Maine Charitable Mechanics Association’s Makers Mix — Halloween edition. Wine, snacks, conversation and open mic opportunities for those that like to share will be on hand, and sets from salsa-core band El Malo and solo artist Gregg Harper will round out the night as makers mingle and connect. The bonus is getting to check out the MCMA’s library and ballroom, unique and recently remodeled spots in their building on Congress. Costumes encouraged. | Oct 31 | Wed 6 pm | Maine Charitable Mechanics Association, 619 Congress St, Portland | $10 | All Ages | www.mainecharitablemechanicassociation.com

 

13. AND SO BEGUILE THY SORROW

 

If you’ve ever wanted to put on a toga, throw some sweet gladiator sandals on the old hooves and go out to dinner with a friend or lover who doesn’t question your mental health, you’re in luck. The Roma Cafe is having an ANCIENT ROMAN WINE NIGHT that will feature five courses of Italian cuisine paired with wines made in traditional methods. Two wineries, Mastroberardino and Terredora, have made the effort to revive and grow ancient grape varieties long thought extinct. In addition, their ancient offerings are made with the same winemaking techniques documented by wineries in the Roman Empire. The meal’s courses will span eras as well, taking the diner from ancient to modern as the meal progresses, for an interesting take on a history lesson. | Nov 1 | Thu 6 pm | The Roma Cafe, 767 Congress St, Portland | $62 | 21+ | romaportland.com

   

 

Victoria Karol is a contributing writer for the Portland Phoenix, covering local music and the Dance Card listings. She produces Music Video Portland, Maine's video music awards and writes about feminism and culture on her blog hottrashportland.com.

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